The Victoria Police Department is urging residents to be aware of virtual kidnapping scams. (Black Press Media file photo)

Recent incident a good reminder of virtual kidnapping scams taking place in Victoria

Victoria police urge residents to be aware and report any incidents

The Victoria Police Department is warning the public after an increase in “virtual kidnapping” reports.

On Sunday, April 18, officers were called to the 100-block of Harbour Road after a report of a suspicious circumstance involving a woman. Officers spoke with the woman and learned she had been the victim of a virtual kidnapping scam.

Six days earlier, according to police, the woman was contacted by an individual speaking Mandarin who claimed to be a member of the Chinese police. She was convinced she needed to send money and other personal information to the scammer in order to protect her family in China. The person then used that information to convince the woman’s family in China that she was being held for ransom. The scam was interrupted before any money was transferred.

ALSO READ: VicPD expands online reporting to keep 911 call-takers free during pandemic

This incident serves as a reminder of the scam, which often targets the Chinese community says VicPD.

According to a statement from the department, perpetrators of these crimes often target people from mainland China who are in their early 20s and are in Canada on a student visa. The victim receives a phone call in the form of a recorded message from a number that often appears to be from the Chinese Consulate or another Chinese authority. If the target responds to the message, they are informed there is either a warrant for their arrest in China or the police need their help with an investigation. As part of the extortion, the scammer often convinces the victim to make fake videos or send photographs indicating they’ve been kidnapped or are a victim of a crime. These materials are sent to the victim’s family, who in turn, are extorted for money.

Locally, major crime unit detectives have investigated several virtual kidnapping files. In at least one file, significant amounts of money have been extorted from worried families. VicPD notes in addition to the cost of police resources utilized in these files, they also carry an emotional cost to the victims and their families.

The local department reiterated Chinese police cannot make arrests in Canada, all policing related to contact from the Chinese government will be done through local police, and the Canadian or Chinese authorities will not ask you to destroy a phone or takes photos or videos of yourself pretending to be a victim of a crime.

VicPD is urging anyone who has been contacted by someone claiming to be from a Chinese authority to call its non-emergency line at 250-995-7654.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

VicPD

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Saanich artist brightens pandemic with whimsical signs

Artist Anna Trelford decorates her fence with signs that riff on COVID-19 pandemic

Man who bound, murdered Langford teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Traffic redirected after crash on McKenzie Avenue

Saanich Police responded to Thursday evening collision

Tour de Victoria postpones 10th annual ride to 2021

Ride that draws more than 3,000 cyclists to Greater Victoria was set for August

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read